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Archive for October, 2011

by Jake Beus

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October 31st, 2011

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In honor of Halloween and the Day of the Dead, I want you to be able to be able to express your fear in the Spanish language. Here is some helpful Halloween Spanish vocabulary you can use tonight and for the next few days:

to scare, frighten | asustar, achantar

A mí las brujas no me asustan.
(The witches don’t scare me.)

to be scared | estar asustado

A pesar de todos los ladrones, no estoy asustado.
(In spite of all the robbers, I’m not scared.)

to be scared stiff | estar muerto de miedo

José estaba muerto de miedo cuando oyó las noticias.
(José was scared stiff when he heard the news.)

scaredy-cat, easily frightened | asustón/asustona
Claudia tiene miedo de todo. ¡Que asustona!

I hope that you have a fun and safe Halloween or Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) tonight and over the next few days. Be sure to practice this Halloween vocabulary. Don’t get too scared!

by Jake Beus

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October 28th, 2011

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Day of the Dead

For those of you who do not know this, Halloween is on Monday. This means that the beginning of Día de los Muertos starts at midnight on Monday, October 31. If you want an explanation of how the Day of the Dead is observed, please visit this article on about.com entitled Mexico’s Day of the Dead Celebration. It’s a very well done explanation of  Día de los Muertos.

Did you see the Halloween Spanish video with Dave and me? Check it out:

You’ll have to compliment Dave on superb acting and voices, especially for the hippie voice. Somebody commented on Facebook that Dave must have seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure a few times. Hopefully you learned a little bit in the video and will be able to greet any Spanish-speaking trick-or-treaters.

Whether you will be celebrating the Día de los Muertos or Halloween, I hope you will be safe but have as much fun as you possibly can. Treat yourself. Eat and give away as much candy as you can. Here are a few Spanish phrases I hope you won’t have to use this weekend:

I am out of candy. | Me he quedado sin dulce.
I am tired. | Estoy cansado/a.
I don’t want more chocolate. | No quiero más chocolate.
I have gained weight. | He aumentado de peso.

That’s it! Have fun! Feliz Halloween!

by Dave Clark

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October 27th, 2011

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Essential Halloween Spanish Vocabulary Video Lesson

Important Halloween Vocabulary – Useful One Day Every Year!

So, you want to be nice to the Spanish speaking trick-or-treaters, but you don’t know Spanish. We have your solution. This is probably one of our most useful Spanish learning videos yet – Halloween Spanish Vocabulary. Just think, if you memorize this vocabulary, you can use it probably at least 40 or 50 times (every year!) depending on how old you are. But seriously, if you want to have a little fun practicing Spanish with the neighbors on Halloween, this will give you the perfect start. Be sure and pass this blog post on to your friends who also want to learn Spanish online.  After watching the Halloween Spanish vocabulary video, come practice with us on the Visual Link Spanish Facebook page on Friday!

Here is the vocabulary from the video:

Happy Halloween! ¡Feliz Halloween!
Would you like a piece of candy? ¿Te gustaría un dulce?
Just take one please. Sólo toma uno por favor.
Please take two. Por favor, toma dos.
What are you? ¿Qué eres tú?
Costume Disfraz
I like your costume. Me gusta tu disfraz.
That costume makes me scared. Ese disfraz me da miedo.
a monster un monstruo
Harry Potter Harry Pótter
a ballerina una bailarina
a witch una bruja
a McRib un McRib
Obama Obama
Herman Cain Herman Cain
dracula drácula
superman superman
spiderman espíderman/el hombre araña
a princess una princesa
a frog una rana
a ghost un fantasma
a cowboy un vaquero
a clown un payaso
Barbie Barbie
Question of the week:
What would you like to be for Halloween? ¿Qué te gustaría ser para Halloween?

How to Get Alerts For Blog Posts by RSS Feed

If you like our Learn Spanish blog, you may also want to consider signing up for our RSS feed up at the top right of the page. An RSS feed alerts you when we have a new blog post and let’s you read a preview of it. After clicking on the RSS feed above, just choose the option you want which lets you choose how you want to receive the notification – by Outlook, Google, as a bookmark or others. If you’re not familiar with how it works, it can seem scary. If so, go for it – I dare you – it’s not that bad!

Remember to come practice on Fridays with us on Facebook. Gracias amigos and Happy Halloween!

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

November 4, 2011 – Spanish for Your Dog or Parrot

11, 11, 11 – Spanish for Your Cruise!

November 5, 2011 – Thanksgiving Spanish Lesson

by Jake Beus

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October 26th, 2011

Brazo means arm, and broma means joke. Those are 2 very common words on their own. They are also commonly used in Spanish idioms and expressions. I’d like to teach you a few Spanish expressions involving bromas and brazos:

no dar su brazo a torcer | not to let someone twist one’s arm, not to give in, to hold one’s ground

A pesar de todas las amenazas, no dio su brazo a torcer.
(In spite of all the threats, he stood his ground.)
Esperamos que no dé su brazo a torcer.
(We hope that he doesn’t give in.)

luchar a brazo partido | to fight bitterly, to fight tooth and nail, to go at it hammer and tongs

Los soldados lucharon a brazo partido contra sus enemigos.
(The soldiers fought tooth and nail against their enemies.)
A pesar de sus lesiones, Ana luchó a brazo partido.
(In spite of her injuries, Ana gave all that she had.)

quedarse con los brazos cruzados | to sit back and do nothing, to sit on one’s hands

Se enojó y se quedó con los brazos cruzados.
(He got angry and did nothing.)
Debido a su flojera, Roberto suele quedarse con los brazos cruzados.
(Because of his laziness, Robert usually sits back and does nothing.)

no estar para bromas | to be in no mood for jokes/laughter

Debido a la muerte de su madre, Juán no esta para bromas.
(Because of the death of his mother, Juán isn’t in the mood for joking around.)
José no esta para bromas porque tiene mucha tarea.
(José isn’t in a joking mood because he has a lot of homework.)

estar de bromas | to be in a joking mood

Nelson siempre esta de bromas.
(Nelson is always in a joking mood.)
Suelo estar de bromas.
(I’m usually in a joking mood.)

entre bromas y veras | half-jokingly and half seriously

Lo dijeron entre bromas y veras.
(They said it kind of half-jokingly, half-seriously.)
Es difícil entender porque habla entre bromas y veras.
(He is difficult to understand because he speaks half-jokingly.)

by Jake Beus

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October 25th, 2011

Many nouns that end in -o are masculine. Many nouns that end in -a are feminine. However, there are certain Spanish nouns that end in -ma that are masculine. It is important that you not over-think this. A mistake that many language learners make which slows their language growth is trying to figure out “why” on everything. Some things you simply need to accept and memorize. This list is one of those things:

the program | el programa
the problem | el problema
the drama | el drama
the system | el sistema
the charisma | el carisma
the symptom | el síntoma
the aroma | el aroma
the climate | el clima
the trauma | el trauma

Like I previously stated, this is a list of nouns and their genders which you must simply memorize. A common mistake that Spanish learners make is assuming that just because the Spanish noun ends in -a, it must be feminine. Don’t assume. Consistently learn and improve your Spanish.

I have a friend in Japan who learned English 17 years ago in the United States. She attended high school and college in the U.S. She now has a very good job as an assistant and translator for a large company and gets to travel all around the world. She has very good English, but she still makes mistakes. After 17 years of learning and improving her English, she still works hard to correct her mistakes. She has been very successful because of that. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Laugh about them, learn from them, and move on.

by Jake Beus

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October 24th, 2011

Nelson Cruz

La Serie Mundial

The World Series, or la serie mundial, is going on right now. The world series is the championship of major league baseball in the United States. It is baseball’s biggest stage. The St. Louis Cardinals are playing the Texas Rangers. I am a fan of the Texas Rangers, although I don’t have a problem with the Cardinals. Many of the players in the world series are from Spanish-speaking countries. Baseball is becoming more and more popular in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean countries. Many of those countries have produced big stars in the baseball world. Rebecca Lopez from wfaa.com stated that there are 17 Latin players in the 2011 world series. Eight of those players are from the Dominican Republic.

If you are a fan of the game and also want to learn Spanish, perhaps you should watch the game and listen to it in Spanish. Depending where you live, you may be able to find a Spanish radio station broadcasting the game. The biggest stars are Nelson Cruz, Neftalí Feliz, and Alexi Ogando from the Dominican Republic. Elvis Andrus is from Venezuela. It is a record number of Latino players in the World Series.

I have not heard each of those players speak English, but I have heard some of them. This is a fun time for them and all the players in the world series. This is a fun time for the countries that they represent. You might someday be able to represent your country as you do something in a foreign country. Do your best to learn Spanish pronunciation and you will be loved by the people in that country. Do you plan on watching any of the remaining games? Turn on that Spanish radio station, and GO Rangers!

by Jake Beus

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October 21st, 2011

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Mexico Vacation

In case you didn’t know this, it’s Friday! Many of our customers learn Spanish for travel purposes. These people travel to Spanish-speaking countries and are able to do more things and have more fun because they have some degree of command on the Spanish language. I want you to be able to have more fun when you travel as well. This is a short list of a few Spanish travel expressions that could be helpful to you on your weekend getaway or whenever you travel:

I want to go to the travel agent’s office. | Quiero ir a la oficina del agente de viajes.
I want to go to the city. | Quiero ir a la ciudad.
Where is it? | ¿Dónde está?
Where do I turn? | ¿Dónde doy vuelta?
This way. | Por aquí.
That way. | Por allí.
When will we arrive at the beach? | ¿Cuándo llegaremos a la playa?
Please show me the way to the store. | Por favor dime cómo se llega a la tienda.
How far is it? | ¿A qué distancia está?
How long does it take to go to the city? | ¿En cuánto tiempo se llega a la ciudad?
Can I walk there? | ¿Puedo llegar a pie?

Obviously I can’t put every Spanish travel expression you could possibly need for your travels. There is a travel section of the Visual Link Spanish Level 1 software which will aptly prepare you for speaking Spanish during your travel adventures. Take advantage of any opportunity who you can to speak Spanish with local people in their native tongue. Ask them questions and truly listen. Good luck and have fun!

by Dave Clark

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October 20th, 2011

Spanish Video Lesson – Workplace Spanish

Do you need Spanish for the workplace?

Many of you use Spanish in the workplace, or maybe I should say if you knew Spanish, you would use it in the workplace. Here are some key phrases that can help you with Spanish in the workplace. If you want more Spanish, be sure and visit our page to learn Spanish online where you will be able to learn all the basics to converse in Spanish. After watching the video above, we’d love to see you 0n our Visual Link Spanish Facebook page to practice. Come on over on Friday when we’ll chat about this topic.

Here is the vocabulary from the video:

How is that project going? ¿Cómo va ese proyecto?
How are things going for you? ¿Cóme le/te va?
Tell me about your family. Cuéntame de tu familia.
Do you want to eat lunch together? ¿Quiere almorzar juntos?
(If you manage or work with
Spanish speakers)
Almost Casi
That’s not done that way. Eso no se hace así.
I’ll show/teach you how to do it. Te enseño a hacerlo.
Can you show/teach me how to do it? ¿Puede enseñarme a hacerlo?
Be careful ¡Ten cuidado!
This is very important. Esto es muy importante.
Come with me. Ven/Venga conmigo.
You have to work harder. Tiene que esforzarse más.
We have to work harder. Tenemos que esforzarnos más.
You need to reach the goal. Necesita alcanzar la meta.
We need to reach the goal. Necesitamos alcanzar la meta.
Question of the Week
Do you work with Spanish speakers at work? ¿Trabajas con personas que hablan español en el trabajo?

Learning workplace Spanish is a great goal. It can help you tremendously in the workplace to be more effective and gain new friends. It can also really boost your resume and make you more marketable.

Remember, we’d love to see you on our Facebook page so you can come and practice with us. Thanks for joining us amigos!

Future Facebook Fiesta Friday Topics:

October 28, 2011 – Halloween Special

November 4, 2011 – Spanish for Your Dog

by Jake Beus

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October 19th, 2011

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Spanish Subject Pronouns

A subject pronoun replaces a noun that names the subject in a clause or sentence. You place a subject pronoun at the beginning of a clause or sentence and before the verb. Pronouns replace nouns that are understood either because of previous use or from context. Here are the Spanish subject pronouns (also called personal pronouns) in English and Spanish.

I | yo
you | tú (informal)
you | usted (formal)
he | él
she | ella
we | nosotros (masculine)
we | nosotras (feminine)
you (as in you all) | vosotros (informal, masculine)
you (as in you all) | vosotras (informal, feminine)
they | ellos (masculine)
they | ellas (feminine)
you (as in you all) | ustedes (formal)

I will write more about Spanish verb conjugation in a future post, but for now it is important to understand that Spanish verbs must be conjugated. I suggest trying out the Visual Link Spanish Verb Courses so that you can master Spanish verb conjugation. You can get a free 7-day trial download and have access to the courses for 7 days by visiting the Visual Link Spanish Free Trial Download page.

It is often not necessary to say or write the subject pronoun in Spanish, because the conjugated form of the verb indicates the subject. In Spanish, it is only necessary to include the subject pronoun for one of the following reasons:

1. Clarity. In the third person, including the subject pronoun allows you to differentiate between él and ella or ellos and ustedes. Look at these examples:

They need to listen. | (Ellos) necesitan escuchar.
You (all) need to listen. | (Ustedes necesitan escuchar.
He needs to listen. | (Él) necesita escuchar.
She needs to listen. | (Ella) necesita escuchar.

2. Emphasis. To emphasize the difference between two subjects, even though they are both understood, include the subject pronoun. Look at these examples:

I live in an apartment, but you live in a house! | ¡Yo vivo en un apartamento, pero tú vives en una casa!
I want to learn Spanish, but you want to learn French. | Yo quiero aprender español, pero tú quieres aprender francés.

I hope you learned at least a little bit! There will be more Spanish grammar lessons coming soon!

by Jake Beus

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October 18th, 2011

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Spanish Idioms

Humans say the weirdest things sometimes. I’m not talking about babies and little kids, I’m talking about humans in general. Every language seems to have their own idioms, expressions, and sayings that don’t really make sense when they’re literally translated. It can be very difficult to learn and understand Spanish idioms or idioms from any foreign language. It is important that you learn to speak Spanish in sentences and get a good base before you start learning Spanish idioms. Also, if you are learning them, be sure to use them in context and ask people if it makes sense. Think about it, how often have you heard some English idiom and been confused? Be sure to ask a native speaker, if you can, if your new idiom makes sense and if it sounds right. Here is a video about an English idiom that got me laughing:

I hope you were able to laugh about that. The idiom doesn’t really make sense, but it’s used anyway. Here are a few Spanish idioms for you to learn:

meter la pata | to say or do the wrong thing at the wrong time, to put your foot in your mouth
Ejemplo: ¿Por qué dijiste eso, Juan? ¡Metiste la pata!
Example: Why did you say that, John? You put your foot in mouth!

aburrirse como una ostra | to be bored as an oyster, to be or get very bored
Ejemplo: Esta fiesta fue un desastre. Nos aburrimos como una ostra.
Example: That party was a disaster. We were bored stiff.

aflojar el billete | to loosen the bill, to loosen up and spend money
Ejemplo: Para salir de ese apuro, el jefe tuvo que aflojar el billete.
Example: To get out of that jam, the boss had to loosen up and spend money.

ahogarse en un vaso de agua | to drown in a glass of water, to sweat the small stuff, to worry about something unimportant
Ejemplo: No te preocupes. No te ahogues en un vaso de agua.
Example: Don’t worry. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I use “meter la pata” more than any of these Spanish idioms. I use it often because I tend to put my foot in my mouth on occasion. I will tell some embarrassing story about myself and say, “Metí la pata”. I would love to hear your experiences of putting your foot in your mouth.

Challenge: Cuéntame de la última vez que metiste la pata. (Tell about the last time you put your foot in your mouth.)

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